Well this may be a record. It’s taken less than 24 hours for me to break my pledge not to be personal and not to add to the hate. But I really want to say this:
Mark Latham, you are a complete and utter wanker.
Today it was revealed that in the next issue of The Spectator Australia (no I don’t read it, and couldn't find anyone at work who did either) Latham writes a charming little piece titled “Latham’s Rules”.
In it, relates Jacqueline Maley and Ellie Harvey, he writes of Julia Gillard that:
she is ''not a particularly empathetic person - displaying, for instance, noticeable discomfort around infant children''.
He then tops it off with this pearl of wisdom from the sociology sh*t heap:
“'The femocrats will not like this statement but I believe it to be true: Anyone who chooses a life without children, as Gillard has, cannot have much love in them.”
Maley and Harvey end with a beautiful stab at Latham, saying:
As opposed to Latham, of course, who is known as a great spreader of love and a favourite of little children.
Now a couple things.
First: What the hell??!!
Why is he writing a piece of political “analysis” in which he thinks it is relevant whether or not Julia Gillard is good around infant children. I have two kids, and I’m not sure if I’m all that good around infant kids. I love my own kids. The infants of others? Well you know, I’ll smile when I see them and given them a little wave, but it’s not like I am volunteering to do babysitting. But hell that’s all by the by, because it is utterly irrelevant to Gillard’s performance during the flood crisis. It wasn’t the shots of Anna Bligh with young kids that made people think she was doing a great job, it was the way she did her job that made people think she was doing a good job.
So while that is bad enough – and irrelevant enough – to then go on and make such a butt-numbingly stupid statement as to suggest those who “choose” a life “without” children “cannot have much love in them” is to go beyond the pale. Well beyond.
All I know is that anyone who would choose to write such a line, even though he knew it was going to cause great offense, must be lacking in a fair bit of love for his fellow man and woman as well.
There is, as I wrote last night, a lot of hate around – on the net and in the media. Some of it is written because people didn’t think what they wrote was offensive to some people, some is written because they had no idea that taken out of context it could be offensive, some is written because it was done in the heat of the moment and it is regretted immediately.
But in this instance Latham calmly and calculatedly thought about and wrote something he knew would be offensive – in fact the whole point of his writing it was because it was offensive. He wanted to offend people.
How do you get to that point in your life?
Well, we all know how – hate. Hatred especially of one person (though Latham certainly hates more than one)
Latham hates Julie Gillard without any limitations. He used to be a friend but now, as sometimes happens when friends fall out, he hates her more than poison. The way he writes and commentates about politics, you know it is a deep seeded hate. Gore Vidal wrote that it is not enough to succeed, others must fail. Well for Latham it is because he has failed; others must be torn down.
But the problems of Latham’s hatred for Gillard are only a minor issue here; what is more important is why is The Spectator giving this guy a voice? Why does the Australian Financial Review give him column inches? Why does Sky News give him time on its programs? Why did 60 Minutes give him a voice in the last election?
Where is the editor or news director who is saying, you know what Mark, we know you hate Gillard (and Rudd), have you got anything else to contribute?
But no, they don’t say that, they bring him on and let him go and laugh at the attention they get.
If Latham were dropped in a pit deep enough so that no journalist could ask his opinion and no internet service would allow him to email his column to any media outlet or blog, then not only would the political discourse of this nation not be worsened, it would be improved more than it would by the absence of any other person. Big statement I know, and I’m prepared to debate a few other names that could go in the pit. But most of the others commentators who I vehemently disagree with, I disagree with because I think their political philosophy and views so completely out of whack that what they write is disgusting. With Latham, I don’t care about his politics, because he has none, other than hatred of Gillard (and Rudd, and the ALP and.. and..) – all he says and writes must be viewed through that lens.
Here’s a tip to all media outlets who wish to use Latham’s services: he is not doing you any good. His hatred makes him blind to common decency. To suggest that someone who chooses not to have children (male or female) cannot have much love in them is so offensive that were Latham to have said it to the face of a person in that circumstance, I wouldn’t be surprised if a judge were to let them off for slapping the guy in the mouth.
I don’t mind snark in my political coverage; I don’t even mind bias (heck I am biased), but when all you have to offer is hatred of someone because they got to PM and you didn’t? Well, I think we’d all be best to give his opinions a wide berth.
Will I rush out and get this month’s The Spectator magazine? Not on your life. And I suggest even those who normally would buy it to give it a miss.
As a mate of mine who spent time in the army would say – Latham is a waste of rations. In a media context, he is a waste of column inches. To editors I suggest this – give that space to someone who will add to the betterment of the political discourse – it wouldn't be hard to find someone better; and don’t worry, you could stay in the gutter, because Latham is in the sewer.